A romantic evening for two…..hundred….

James Akers MBE.

Originally uploaded by StripeyAnne

Valentine's Day is always something of a rip-off. Flowers double in price, chocolate doubles in calories and lingerie shrinks to the size of two knotted pieces of lace.

Being immune to All Things Marketing, Noel refuses to be pander to it all. Me? I'm a sucker, though not a mug. Rather than battle for tables for two we responded to the National Media Museum's imaginative offering. A platter for two to share and a romantic movie double bill of Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. The platters were fully booked, but there was plenty of wine to be had – and the NMM has a very civilised policy of letting you take beer and wine into the theatre, albeit in a paper cup.

The cinema was full of couples smooching and blatantly snogging. However, the pair behind us were at it hammer and tongs. Arguing, that is. Before the first film started there was a heated discussion on who was sneering at who. And so it went on. Ironically the film starts with a couple arguing in German, forcing one of the two protaganists to move seat – and that's how she meets the other.

They didn't come to the second film. Perhaps they were making it up behind the bike sheds. Perhaps not.

Today we called in to see the longest-living romantics we know, Noel's mum and dad Wendy and James, 52 years married and still as happy as ever, no sneering there!

Here's James with his MBE taken with my new lens.

Today's lovely thing

Taking a pair of old lovers out for dinner

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